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Wednesday, 21 August 1985
Page: 56

Senator PETER BAUME(10.28) —On behalf of Senator Chaney and pursuant to contingent notice of motion I move:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent me from moving a motion relating to the order of business on the Notice Paper.

On the Notice Paper today certain Senate committee reports are listed for discussion. The time allowed for that discussion is one hour. These reports come on at item No. 13. It is necessary that I now move to seek the suspension of Standing Orders in order to enable me to move a motion to vary the order in which those reports will be considered. This is the appropriate point in the Senate's proceedings when this motion needs to be moved. Several reports are to be discussed this afternoon. It is the desire of the Opposition, should this motion succeed, that we then move a subsequent motion to have one of those reports brought up to be discussed first. We understand that all the reports might be discussed in that hour but it is our concern that one of them be discussed first.

Without addressing the substance of the issues which concern the Opposition, I advise the Senate that in relation to one of the reports, No. 7, the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare report on the export of live sheep from Australia, there is some confusion in the public place relating to statements which have been made. There is concern in a very significant industry which is awaiting this report.

It is our belief that the way to resolve that confusion and to ease the concern of the public is to ensure that adequate debate takes place when the report is debated today. The reason for seeking the suspension of Standing Orders is that the program has been so constructed and the order of business has been set in such a way as to make it unlikely that debate on report No. 7 will be as full as we think it should be in the time allowed. It is our understanding that each of the committee chairmen will speak for 10 minutes first in putting down their reports. That will take half of the hour that is available. It will leave only a short time for general debate.

Although there has been public comment, some confusion and some concern and although we have yet to hear from the Chairman, it may well be that following his speech things will be much clearer. But it is also quite likely that there will be a desire to debate the matter and to clarify it for the public. All we are asking for is the right to ensure that subsequent to the Chairman's statement there will be an opportunity to settle the matter even if this involves several other speakers. The only way we can achieve that is to move now to suspend the Standing Orders. It seems to us that the good will of the Senate should acknowledge that there has been confusion in relation to the presentation of this report and certain statements that have been made subsequent to its tabling. I think the Senate will acknowledge that it is desirable to clarify that confusion. Perhaps we can do it today but for that to happen there has to be an opportunity for those senators who have concerns to make their views known and, for that reason, I have moved the suspension of Standing Orders.